Friday, 26 February 2010
Chickens are self-sufficient pets. As long as they have fresh water every day and a dry, clean coop to sleep in, they should be happy living in your backyard. You want to keep a clean coop to stop parasites and rodents from being attracted to your coop. Your cleaning can vary from how many hens, size of coop, etc. I do a weekly maintenance inspection and change floor bedding and nesting boxes if needed. Twice a year I do a deep clean and disinfect the entire coop from top to bottom.
Floor: Care can vary for the type of coop that you have. We use a portable coop that my husband built but I still put a piece of plywood in the run area with pine shavings. With our coop it is easy to remove the plywood if I just want to let the hens scratch up bugs and worms. We found that without the wood shavings they can create quite a mess digging up the yard. The plywood just helps with the cleanup by having a flat surface.
Floor covering options: pine shavings or sand (very coarse).
Sprinkle lime on the floor to help neutralize odors even before the wood shavings. Here is a good article regarding the use of lime in a chicken house - Liming the Chickenhouse. Some individuals have mixed emotions on the use of lime.
For lice and mice control use diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic, abrasive fine white powder made of the tiny fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of algae. If you ever take a microbiology class make sure you get to take a look at this algae under the microscope. They are absolutely beautiful! Diatomaceous earth is a 100% natural treatment for poultry ailments including mites, lice and intestinal worms. Sprinkle it in the nest box and run and coop bedding.
Nesting Boxes: Chickens like quiet, enclosed areas to lay their eggs. You can put straw or pine shavings in your nesting boxes and let them rearrange it to how they want it. I have heard that some people have problems with the hens laying their eggs in the corner on the floor but I have not encountered that problem yet. Our coop has two nesting boxes but for some reason the hens like to nest in the same box. Change the bedding when it looks like its getting dirty.
Roosts: Chickens like to "roost" on raised platforms. Its where they huddle together at night. Once it starts to get dark at our hen house don't even think about peeking in. We have one hen that will make crazy noises and even peck at you! Our roosting stick is removable so I will take it out at least once a month and give it a good scraping. Below the stick I used to lay hay down but found that cat litter works better. It is very easy to clean up. Learn as you go.....
Ventilation: It is very important to keep your coop clean and well ventilated. Ammonia fumes can build up and cause respiratory problems in your chickens. Ventilation also removes humidity and keeps the coop nice and cool in the summer and prevents frostbitten chickens in the winter.
Keeping of backyard hens is still controversial in cities. You don't want your neighbors complaining that it stinks! Keep your coop clean.
Food: The best food for egg laying chickens is an organic feed. You can buy pellet or mash. Feed should contain nutrients, omega 3 oils, carbohydrates, protein and vitamins and minerals that your chickens need. Chickens will eat about 4 ounces of pellets a day.
Grit (small rocks): Chickens hold grit in their gizzards. A gizzard is an organ that ginds up feed making it easier to digest. Use more grit in the winter when rocks are harder to find. If you find that shells are thin and soft add oyster shells for calcium.
Oyster Shells: Give oyster shells to egg laying hens. It gives them extra calcium to help produce strong egg shells.
Scraps: Think of this as "treats". Chickens have their own likes and dislikes so see what your ladies like. This can be anything from fruits, veggies and bread.
Free Range:This is my favorite part. Let your hens out and let them run around the yard and let them look for their own food. Mine head straight for my perennial garden. There are some good nightcrawlers and bugs in their.
Water: Provide fresh water everyday. I sanitize the water containers once a week. If you use bleach make sure you rinse well.
Food Storage: Store in vermin-proof containers.
Bugs: Keep an eye out for parasites, lice and fleas. You may need to give treatments if necessary.
* Provide a dust bath for your girls. This is where your chickens will roll, flap or run around in the dirt. It gets rid of bugs and lice naturally.
Stress: If your chickens are looking stressed find a cool dark place for them to go to and recover.
Miscellaneous Chicken Care
Handle: Don't chase your chickens or pick them up by the tail or wings. Get close to them by gaining their trust and confidence. Talk to them and give them treats. Gently pick them up and support under your arm. Patience!
Let Your Chickens Out: Let your chickens out of the coop to scratch and dust bath. I only let them out in the afternoons for a couple of hours under supervision. They destroyed my entire perennial garden one afternoon.
Watch for predators: Keep an eye out for neighborhood pest. This can be anything from cats, dogs, foxes, and racoons.
About the Author:
Tana Lyon can be found at http://www.backyardchickenfarmer.com and is always willing to answer any questions you may have regarding your chickens.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Tanna_Lyon
Monday, 15 February 2010
With the high interest in raising chickens in small urban farms on the rise there is a new opportunity for the enterprising person looking for ways to make extra money. All that is required is having basic woodworking and construction skills. Building chicken coops to earn money on the side can turn into quite a profitable side business as many people want to raise chickens but do not have either the time or the skills needed to build their own. If this sounds like something that might interest you then here are some tips:
Make Sure there is a Demand
Before you take up building chicken coops for profit you need to make sure that there is actually a demand in your area. While there are lots of people who are taking up raising their own chickens this does not necessarily mean that they all need someone to build their chicken coops. Many of them may build their own rather than pay someone else to do it for them.
Have Plenty of Options
In the world of building chicken houses there is no one size fits all and the more different styles you can offer your potential clients the better your chances of getting them to have you build one for them. You should be able to offer a selection of chicken arks, as well as various sizes of coops to capture the widest possible range of clients.
Guarantee Your Work
Building chicken coops can be a very rewarding job, but you must be prepared to stand behind the product you build. While this does not mean that you should be at the beck and call of your customers for life, you should be prepared to take care of the coops your build if anything should go wrong with your construction for a decent period of time.
Advertise and be Prepared to Deliver
If you want to build your business of building chicken arks you need to get the word out about your business. This means advertising everywhere you can think of especially free bulletin boards around town and in your local feed store. You can use your local paper as soon as you can afford to pay for advertising. You should be prepared to offer your first few clients a discounted rate to get the word out and be prepared to deliver not only on time but the best possible chicken coops you can at all times.
With a little hard work and determination you can build yourself a decent business building chicken coops. Done right this can become a very successful niche market as there are not too many people currently offering these services.
For expert and detailed step by step instruction on how to construct your own Chicken Coop visit How To Build A Chicken Coop
Buying a Chicken Coop can be quite costly, and you can easily build one for a quarter of the cost of buying...plus you have the satisfaction of knowing that you did it yourself. Check out how to build it now at How To Build A Chicken Coop
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Janet_Patrick
Saturday, 13 February 2010
It is definitely not difficult to earn extra money or income for your family by keeping chickens. You can raise chickens easily at the backyard of your house.
But how can you make money by raising chickens? Its a good idea to engage your children in this activity. If they know for sure that they will get extra pocket money, don't you think they will help you in raising chickens?
Here you go...
1. How about selling those eggs in the market and earning an extra income? You can earn up to $2 or $3 for a dozen of eggs. Just think how much you can earn a day with a dozen of chickens at home and each laying a maximum of 2 eggs a day. It is definitely not huge money; however, an added or extra income for your family.
2. Rather than selling eggs you may sell baby chicks to local farmers for a good price.
3. Composted manure that you get by keeping chickens can be sold to gardeners as this is a form of natural manure.
4. You may even raise the chickens and sell them for meat.
Once you decide to make money by keeping chickens, take into consideration the space available for raising chickens and the amount of chickens you will be able to raise. Once this is decided, build a chicken coop. There are many ready-to-use chicken coops and runs available on the market or you may go in for a DIY chicken coop.
Articles, products and advice for keeping your own chickens at home.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Corrigan
Thursday, 11 February 2010
If you are looking for small business opportunities, you might not have to look too hard. You may find that they are waiting in you own back yard. Right now the push is on to go green and to eat only organic foods. Well you can actually lower your carbon footprint and eat healthier at the same time.
Your perfect small business opportunities start with a chicken. All you need to do is to build a chicken coop. There are lots of how to books available if you are not sure how to proceed, or you may be able to hire a handy man to build one for you. Then you need to contact your local feed and seed company and order in some chickens. All you need to do is to feed and water the chickens until they mature enough to start producing eggs.
Once your chickens begin to produce eggs, your small business opportunities begin to multiply. Now you have a great organic product in the eggs. People are crazy for organic products and you are helping with the carbon footprint because these eggs do not have to be trucked in to your customers. You are not wasting gas and you are not using electricity. Everything about your small business is green, how politically correct is that?
Other small business opportunities include selling the chickens to the meat eaters of the community and you can also sell the chicken fertilizer to local gardeners to get them started on their organic vegetable gardens. Just think you will be making lots of money while saving the environment.
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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lucas_Collingsworth
Monday, 8 February 2010
Why keep chickens?
Whether you are thinking about taking the first steps towards self sufficiency or you are simply looking to save money by producing your own food, chickens are the perfect way to start.
Owning chickens is great for the environment. You'll be reducing your carbon footprint with zero food miles on your eggs. You will also have a constant supply of free organic compost.
Chickens make excellent family pets. Many chicken owners say keeping chickens is less work than looking after a dog. Friendlier breeds are ideal companions for children, and are fun and educational too - teaching children where their food comes from and how to look after a pet.
There's nothing quite like collecting eggs fresh from your garden each morning. They taste wonderful. You'll never want to go back to supermarket eggs.
Gardeners take note: chickens will gobble up garden pests, so you'll no longer have to use unhealthy, polluting pesticides.
Recent campaigns by celebrity chefs have rightly made people aware of animal welfare on farms. With chickens in your garden, you'll have an intimate knowledge of exactly how the hens that lay your eggs are looked after. The cruelty of factory farming is well documented. Less well known is that even 'free range' chickens are often kept in crowded barns with little access to outdoor space and their beaks cut blunt to prevent them pecking each other.
Feeding and Caring for your Chickens
Chickens are not fussy eaters. Their main diet should consist of layer pellets or mash and mixed corn seed.
Chicks (age 0-8 weeks) should be fed chick crumbs, whilst growers (age 8-18 weeks) should be fed grower pellets or mash.
Chickens love treats, such as leafy vegetables, sweetcorn, fruit, or brown bread. These should be kept to a minimum to stop your chickens from getting overweight. Overweight chickens lay fewer eggs.
Do not feed your chickens meat, fish, or raw potato peelings.
Water should be topped up daily with at least 200ml per chicken.
Chickens need access to a dust bath to clean themselves. You will need to clean out their nesting area at least once each week.
The Cost of Keeping Chickens
Domestic chickens cost £8-£15, and are available from poultry farms and some pet shops. Alternatively, you could choose to rehouse ex-battery hens, available free or at very little cost from rehousing charities such as the Battery Hen Welfare Trust.
Your main outlay will be a coop and fencing for a run area in your garden. Choose a good quality coop to last your chickens for their whole lifetime and to keep predators out. Coops cost from around £100 for a basic model up to £400 for a top of the range design.
Feed costs around £10 for a 25kg bag. The amount that chickens eat will vary depending on breed type, the amount of exercise they're getting, local climate, and the type of feed you use. A small laying chicken will eat 100-150g of feed per day (costing you between 4 and 6 pence for feed per day).
Choosing a Chicken Coop
A poultry coop is the ideal home for your pet chickens. Chickens are sensitive to too much heat, cold, or dampness, and a coop keeps your chickens sheltered from the rain and cold. A secure, well-built coop keeps chickens safe from predators such as foxes and cats.
When choosing a coop, bear in mind that chickens need 1-2 square feet of nesting space and 3-4 square feet of outdoor space per bird. For a small number of chickens, a coop will provide all the space they need. For example, our standard 5'1" x 2'1" poultry ark is suitable for housing three small chickens. To keep more chickens in this coop, you would need to let them roam free in your garden or a larger pen for at least an hour per day.
During the daytime, chickens will need access to exercise space and a dust bath. Day and night, chickens need access to fresh drinking water.
Chickens can live up to 15 years, so it is important to choose a coop that will last.
Living in a coop will help your chickens feel comfortable and secure, so they'll produce more eggs.
Order a coop now so you'll have a home set up and ready for when your chickens arrive.
Edwin Lloyd is the Managing Director of My Greener Home (http://www.mygreenerhome.co.uk), a UK based website offering a wide range of products to cut your household bills. If you are seeing your gas, electricity, water or food bills rising then come to My Greener Home and we can help you push them back down again. With products ranging from energy saving bulbs through to water butts, My Greener Home will have something to make your home cheaper to run.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Edwin_Lloyd
Sunday, 7 February 2010
If you want to raise happy, healthy and productive chickens, your main concern should be the quality of feed you offer them. With all of the options for feeding your flock, it can be a daunting task to select the right method for you. One solution is to let your chickens roam around the yard, hunting for their own bugs and wild plants. This approach however, will drop their egg production to oblivion due to filling their stomachs with protein-lacking grasses instead of high-protein foods. Another choice is to use a premixed vegetarian diet, possibly this same type of diet with the addition of animal proteins. The last method that we will be covering is mixing your own feed grains.
Before we get into our lengthy discussion on chicken feed, let us first mention another important element, which is an integral part of feeding your chickens; hen houses. The reason I bring this up now is because, as you will soon see, hen houses also play a major part in feeding your flocks. Whether you call them poultry houses, chicken coops, hutches, pens, runs, or any other name, they are all the same. And properly constructed portable hen houses can provide valuable protein which can help keep your chickens healthy while saving you money on store bought feed at the same time.
The mass producers use a strict vegetarian diet due to the fact that their old style of feeding, using feed that included animal proteins, had the potential to pass animal diseases to their flocks. The no-animal-protein diet eliminates the risk of these serious diseases, which have been known to kill thousands of birds in a flock. The negative side to this diet is that it is possible for the birds to end up with protein deficiencies if care is not taken to mix the feed properly.
The mass producers obviously want their chickens to be as healthy as possible, but that is not their main objective. They are driven by the questions "how many eggs am I going to get and how much is it going to cost me?" Since they typically replace their laying hens every year they are not as worried about keeping them active and healthy for 10 or 12 years as they are getting the most production at the cheapest price. The home grower of chickens on the other hand, can use feeds containing animal protein relatively risk-free, so it is not as worrisome for the backyard enthusiast raising just a small number of birds. Backyard farmers can also let their flocks graze around the chicken coup for a portion of their protein in the form of bugs and insects, which has the added advantage of lower their feed bill.
The simplest and quickest approach is to get feed that is already premixed for you, where the feed is already packaged and bagged, ready to distribute to your birds. This approach saves time and work, but it also means higher feed bills. You can save money while still getting the same results mixing your own feed. You buy the individual elements and mix them on your own. It does not take a lot of work to do.
The final alternative we will mention is allowing your chickens to forage for their own food, but there are two potential problems here. One, if they roam unconfined they can quickly become the prey of a predator or neighborhood pet. Also, they can end up eating too many grasses and too little protein, and this will dramatically decrease egg production. Both of these problems can be solved with the help of portable hen houses.
As I said previously, portable hen houses are a terrific way to help you save money on feed. With poultry houses that are movable there are inside and outside sections, and your flock can find a portion of their food in the outdoor area. When your birds have eaten most of the grasses and plants in one area, you simply drag the portable poultry housing over to a new area where there are plenty of new plants for your chickens to feast on. It is the circle of life, simply moving your hen houses to new vegetated areas, so the recently used areas will have a chance to grow back their greenery. This is the best way to lower your feed bills while still giving your chickens a reason to be happy and healthy.
Mr. Harding has raised chickens and many other types of poultry since 1981. Feel free to visit his fun for more information about chicken feed along with exciting details about building your own hen houses. Also find entertaining reviews of products regarding poultry housing. You can visit his web site at hen-houses.org.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Joshua_Harding
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
A nonbreeder chicken will naturally get broody every spring. They'll begin to fuss and cluck more than usual, refuse to leave the nest and generally get maternal. Usually they lay a clutch of about a dozen eggs over a two-week period and settle down to brood them so that they hatch at the same time. After the chicks have grown, the hens usually molt their feathers and begin laying again until the following spring. Because of the mother hen's body warmth, the chicks don't stay too far from her during their first week or so.
You could gather about a dozen large eggs and incubate them yourself. You then have the trouble and bother of purchasing or making an incubator and brooder. Then you must keep it properly heated so the eggs hatch. You also could purchase newly-hatched baby chicks from a hatchery. Just make sure it is a reputable hatchery whose flocks are registered and guaranteed.
Chicken Feed - Chickens receive calcium-rich egg shells and clam shells smashed up real fine. Also coffee grinds, herbal tea leaves and citrus rinds. Chickens will eat your regular garbage leftovers from raw vegetables, suet and meat scraps.
Pecking Order - The young hens will chase one another around to establish the pecking order. The top hen can peck any other hen but won't be pecked. The number two hen can peck any other hen except the number one hen and so forth on down the line. Roosters tend to ignore all this but can get henpecked by any of the females. If a bird is pecked to the point of bleeding, the others will gather around it and sometimes peck it to death. In this case, segregate the bird, apply some purple genital violet horse liniment on the wounds. Keep it segregated until the wounds heal and feathers begin to cover the bare skin.
Diseases - If you get day old chicks from a reputable hatchery, you shouldn't have any serious disease problems. Occasionally a bird will just lie down and stop walking. Paralysis has probably set in and is incurable. The bird must be killed, but do not use it for food.
Intestinal worms are present in nearly all natural soils and are parasites to chickens. They are harmless unless they get into small chicks. Do not let the chicks onto soil until they are a month or more old.
By keeping chicken netting over the top of the run, wild birds that can carry cholera and other bird diseases can be kept out.
For more information on chickens please refer to the author's blog at http://buildingachickencoopebook.blogspot.com/
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Carol_J_Miller
Monday, 1 February 2010
Keeping chickens has become a very popular pastime because apart from the obvious advantage of getting a regular supply of fresh eggs, it is a lot of fun. If you are considering keeping chickens then you won't be disappointed as long as you realise that there is a right way to keep chickens. Follow some basic guidelines and you should benefit from having a happy, healthy and productive flock.
Chickens do make good pets and generous ones at that. But whether you want to keep chickens as egg producing pets or see them as a potential succulent roast dinner, you really need to plan, organise and care for your flock carefully.
So, what is the right way to keep chickens?
• Firstly you need to be aware of any local regulations covering the raising and keeping of poultry and it is probably worth letting your neighbours know about your project before you begin.
• Then you need to decide on how many birds you want to keep. Available space will obviously be a deciding factor but a minimum of three is recommended. As a rule of thumb, one square metre of space should be allowed per bird, so that they have sufficient room to forage, exercise and nest comfortably.
• A substantial chicken house or coop is essential so that hens have somewhere to roost safely at night and to shelter from the sun and rain. The coop should have perches and nesting boxes and have easy access, so that you can clean the coop and collect eggs without causing too much disturbance for the hens.
• Security of the hen house is paramount as there are many predators just waiting for the chance of an easy meal. Foxes, rats, weasels, birds of prey and even snakes are the enemy that needs to be prevented from getting into your chicken sanctuary. So all round protection of the coop is essential.
• Hens are quite easily stressed and stressed chickens are not good layers of those delicious eggs, so keep Rover at a good distance away from the coop so that he cannot worry the birds.
• Of course the correct feeding of your pets is vitally important and a well balanced diet including protein, greens and grains plus a constant supply of clean water should be provided. It may sometimes be necessary to supplement their food with added proteins and grit but these they normally get from their own foraging.
• Apart from the above the only other thing to consider is the checking on the health of the birds which you can do by maintaining regular contact with them. They do like to visited and spoken to. After all they are providing you with those delicious eggs.
If you remember that there is a right way to keep chickens and that by doing so you will be rewarded with happy, healthy productive pets you cannot go far wrong. You will have a great deal of fun into the bargain.
Finally, as with most projects, expert guidance is invaluable. This is particularly important when planning the chicken coop. So, seek the best advice and guidance you can get. It will certainly be worth it.
Building a backyard chicken coop yourself, will be both economically rewarding and an enjoyable experience. It will also be one of the best investments you can make. However, although you do not need any special skills you do need expert guidance if you are to make a success of your project. It doesn't matter if you are a skilled carpenter or a total beginner, if you require a big or small coop, or if you have a small or large budget. "Building a Chicken Coop" will guide you through all the stages of planning, preparation and construction, providing all the plans and instructions that you need to build a professional looking chicken coop.
There is a right way to keep chickens and providing a comfortable, secure home for them is a basic requirement that must not be scrimped on. So visit http://buildachickencooponline.info to get the best information available on the internet.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Chester_Warrington